Friday, December 7, 2012

Adventures in Epublishing: 10,000 Sales and Counting...

Well, I've gone and done it. I've sold 10,000 copies of my books. I'm not writing this post to brag (okay, maybe just a little), but I want to give those of you out there pursuing self-publishing this information. For the last two years (more like 2 1/2) I've been reading every post by successful authors, desperate to glean any morsel of useful information I could from said people. I still do! And while I have no idea if or how this might be helpful for you, I'll put it out there.

As I reported in August, 2012, my sales really picked up with the release of the Into the Shadows sequel, Darkness Rising, in June. The sales from Darkness Rising really pushed my sales numbers ahead and After Dawn, the trilogy finale, which has only been out 3 weeks, is also doing well. I've noticed numbers for the second book, Darkness Rising, have dropped off quite a bit. Into the Shadows is still free, but those downloads are a little slow as well. In general, the fall has been much slower than the summer was for me, but sales are still moving along nicely.

If I've learned anything from the sales run in the last six months, it's that it pays, literally, to have a series. Bloody Little Secrets comes in second to the Into the Shadows Trilogy as a decent seller, but mostly overseas through Apple. US sales have slowed. I plan to write a sequel for it though, so perhaps that will help its sales when the next one is ready. As for my other titles, my short stories manage about 10 sales a month, and surprisingly, my edgy YA Contemporary, The Green is my worst seller. Even with the new cover I guess it just suffers from the fact that it's a stand-alone book. I've tried marketing it, and it's currently in Select on Amazon, not that it's helped it one bit. I've already used 3 of the free days but that has caused no improvement in the matter. Even in terms of reviews, it has never received a bad one. It's just one of those unexplainable mysteries, I guess.

I released a new project today, the Grimmdale High Series, which is a series of short novelettes (10-15K words each) which feature a complete story/episode in each one. Traditionally, shorts don't sell nearly as well as novels, so we'll see if the concept takes off and increases sales. I only purchased the first two covers, so depending on the response, I can decide how much time I'll commit to the series. The beauty of self-publishing is you can experiment all you want!

In terms of income, if you followed me in August, you saw that my income was quite good. Since June, I've not dropped below $1,000 a month. I've not made as much as I did in June and July, but it's been steady.

Feel free to leave any questions below. I'm happy to answer whatever you've got on your mind!

Happy writing!

K

10 comments:

  1. When do you thing New Blood will be ready?

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  2. I'm rereading Bloody Little Secrets now. I've got a plan and a rough outline. Due to my day job work schedule, I haven't gotten started yet but plan on using my time over the two weeks of winter break to really make a dent in it. If I have my way, I'll try to finish it by February or sooner. Then it takes about 4-6 weeks to get it ready. So a good speculation would be March. I'm excited to get writing!

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  3. Congratulations! I'm glad that my purchases of 2 of your books got you over the top. :-)

    As a fellow author (who hasn't sold NEARLY as many books as you), it's a bummer to hear that standalone books do so poorly compared to a series. I've only written standalone books and don't plan to write a series anytime soon. I just don't have a series in me (yet).

    Speaking of shorts, how did Eight do for you? I love writing short stories, but my short story collections don't sell. Oh well.


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  4. Ah, little old EIGHT. It sells about 10 copies a month. About the same as The Green. I had heard shorts were doing better, what with Hugh Howey seeing so much success, but yeah, I haven't seen it on my end. My Grimmdale titles were meant to be an experiment in that, but so far they're not selling much either.

    As for stand-alones, I know what you mean. Series are certainly not my favorite thing to do. I have so many ideas I want to try out. Some people like Katie Klein. Karen McQuestion, and Tess Oliver did really well with stand-alone titles, all YA contemporary. I figured that gave The Green a fighting chance. And who knows, maybe someday people will discover it, but for now it's sort of the black sheep.

    Oh, and thanks for the support!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your stats, Karly. and Congrats!

    I'm happy to hear you're having sucess with your series, since that's what I'm focusing on going into 2013. Of all my books up to now, the sequel to Clockwise sold the best. Clockwise is free, and had there been a book 3, it would probably still be selling well. I actually split a stand alone into two novellas because of this. Jars of Clay is free and the sequel, Broken Vessels is my current best seller. I really believe if I had released it as a single stand alone book, I wouldn't be seeing the same sales.

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  6. Elle,

    Congrats on your success! That's great! Regarding series, I'm trying something a little different with my Bloody Little Secrets series (vs. Into the Shadows). Into the Shadows is an over-arcing story that needs all three books to complete. With Bloody Little Secrets, I'm hoping to incorporate the same characters and setting with a new plot, which I hope will wrap up in the one book. No cliffhangers. That way, if readers want more, I can keep going provided I can keep coming up with new adventures for those characters, as opposed to needing to write the other books in order to resolve the story.

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  7. This is deserving of a sound congratulations. You've gone from a writer to an author.

    I do wonder, however, if series alone is the key. When any author puts out a new book, old books jump. Stephen King, with few exceptions like The Dark Tower, does not write series novels, yet his older titles spike whenever he puts out a new work.

    Also, it's hard to judge how many readers are lost by writing a series. What do I mean? Many readers, me included, are actually reluctant to jump into or even start an established series due to the time commitment to read it all and, being the completists that many are, deciding not to even get started if it cannot be read entirely. Stand alone novels, like King, Grisham, Baldacci, Toni Morrison and others, sometimes might be preferred by readers.

    Your work ethic is commendable. Wife, author, teacher, daughter, etc. You certainly know how to juggle fruit, Karly

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  8. So far I've purchased the entire into the shadow trilogy & the green. They were all great books & I enjoyed all of them.

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  9. Congrats on all your success. I enjoyed your series as well as your stand-alone. I wonder if your sales would pick up if you have more stand alones. If I love a book by an author, I almost always give another book by them a chance. If I love that one as well, I will automatically purchase a third book, and so on. If I do not like the second book, I may not automatically buy nook #3, but I will always take a look and see if it sounds like something I would be interested in. If someone can do it once, chances are they can do it again. What do you think? I agree with the above post about being leery of dipping into a series. Sometimes it is too daunting. I've bought series before based on word of mouth and regretted the time and money wasted (twilight). Just saying...Anyway, keep up the good work and may 2013 be a breakthrough year for you. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. Coolkayaker1, you're right...many do very well with stand-alone books. For some reason the group I would compare sales with, it hasn't been the case. It could be a matter of marketing. In traditional publishing, there is a big push for the author (or at least big-name authors) prior to any book release. People who have read their books before are likely to check it out.

    Maybe it's the fact that with self-publishing, you have to rely on that hook. If they like your first book and know that there will be more, they tend to stick around. Interestingly enough, I don't see a bunch of carry-over on all the titles. Most people who read the Into the Shadows trilogy aren't picking up The Green (except for awesome people like Treasure here!). Obviously it's Paranormal vs. Contemporary, but yeah, it's definitely not crossing over.

    It will be interesting to see how it carries on in the future. Self-publishing like this is still so new, we're only 2-3 years in on the whole revolution, which still appears to be ongoing. And patterns may fluctuate and change as well. Fingers crossed, i could use a major best-seller! :D And thanks for all the nice things you said. It's nice to know hard-work is still appreciated today! :D (Try to tell my students that!)

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